When I was pregnant with my second child and I found out it was going to be a girl, I have to admit that one of the first thoughts that popped into my head had to do with how I was going to dress her up. I've loved clothes and fashion since I was a little girl myself and I knew that it would take a lot of my self control to not overspend in dressing my daughter to be. Now, at three and a half, I find myself searching out and successfully finding what I like to call "Mini Me clothes", tiny little replicas of pieces I would actually wear in adults sizes myself. Inspired by a photo I saw of the editor of French Vogue, Emmanuelle Alt and her daughter Françoise, I began putting together little outfits composed of pint sized grown up fashion, and there are a growing number of adorable options out there for just this sort of thing. Zara has long been one of my favorite shops, and at first I had only shopped there while overseas or visiting Montreal, but now they have a fabulous website, great prices and amazing sales. Their girls' line is full of options I would put on myself, and I'm often wishing they would make adult sizes for myself (side note, I would NEVER wear a matching outfit at the same time though, I shudder at the thought of repeating the kind of Laura Ashley Mommy and Me horrors I remember seeing when I was little).
- This little trench is currently on its way to me right now actually, and will be sitting under the tree waiting for Lev come Christmas morning. Besides being adorable it has grown up details I would look for in the adult version, but at under $50 it has a price that cannot be beat.
- Zara's shoe selection for girls is by far the best I've found, they have sophisticated styles for even little feet that can lend a classic or stylish twist to any outfit.
- My FAVORITE part of Zara's website however is their little handbag line for girls. Lev has her fair share of pink and fur trimmed overly girly toy options to choose from, but this cute little bag would look so cute hanging on a little arm and is a perfect example of a shrunken down version of an adult fashion staple.
J. Crew's kids line, Crew Cuts, is another one of my favorites, and just like their adult line it is full of classic pieces that are a bit more expensive but are worth it for their quality and style details. A lot of their pieces also have a unisex quality to them so they can be passed down from child to child as hand-me-downs. Levy now wears Finn's classic navy peacoat and some of his old Crew Cuts sweaters and since they are so well made they have withstood the torture a four year old boy can put them through.
- The Breton style striped sweater has a timeless appeal that looks great on a boy or a girl, and this simple sweater is no different. I actually wore the grown up version of this sweater just last night, and with a simple ponytail and a pair of jeans any little girl would look beyond sweet.
- Crew Cuts has amazing kids accessories that are free of any over the top cutesiness which can ruin an otherwise simple and sophisticated look. I would buy this hat in my size for the summer and can't wait to have my little one sport it herself.
- Levy is a princess-aholic just like so many other little girls her age, but rather than buy the plastic, Cinderella emblazoned generic "jewelry" for her I love these pint sized pieces from Crew Cuts. They have a little touch of elegance and polish that is hard to find in little girl jewelry, and are so well made they won't fall apart at the first tug. The ribbon ties are cute and comfortable as well and the beautiful design delights both kids and moms alike.
The real beauty of these pieces is that you don't have to try to make your little one into a cookie cutter version of yourself, you can still allow them to express themselves with those crazy rainbow tights they love or the Hello Kitty shirt she just COULD NOT leave Old Navy without, but they can lend just a bit of the same sense of style that you dream of imparting on her some day. Most days its Levy's own combination of these kinds of classic simple styles and her own imagination that make an adorable toddler outfit, and some days I find that we actually both pick out similar outfits, and I'd be lying if I said that didn't put a little smile on my face. And for those of you Mamatogians with boys, both Zara and Crew Cuts have adorable and stylish boys clothes just as cute and irresistible as their girls lines.